Kalifa dazzles consumers with style
Eighteen-year-old Kalifa Chambers has successfully balanced her academic studies while operating her business, SexyStart, with her sister, Yahnique.
Started in February 2018, the two divisions of her company specialise in selling swim-wear and sun-glasses.
She told The Gleaner that she has been attracted to business for most of her life.
"I have always wanted to start and operate my own business, since I was in primary school," she said.
This has led her to gravitate more to business subjects in high school in order to get an understanding of the field.
However, she recalled that the motivation to start her company came while her family was experiencing some financial struggles.
"When my mother was low on cash, and we could not afford some basic necessities, I decided to take matters into my own hands and help ease the burden on her," Kalifa recounted.
Her success is even more significant in light of her academic achievements where, in this year's Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations, she achieved two grade ones and two grade twos while also ranking seventh nationally in Caribbean history.
Her successes in academics were noticeable when she sat her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations where, regionally, she ranked second and fourth for Caribbean history and religious education, respectively.
Kalifa also engages with several clubs and societies at her school, Wolmer's Girls, including the Photography Club, the Heritage Club, Angels of Love, and the Sixth-Form Association, where she serves as vice-president.
Juggling her business, personal challenges, and academic studies, has been particularly challenging for this young entrepreneur. Regardless, she believes that it has been an enriching experience.
"It has been worth it as ... I am able to learn how to manage my time and create budgets in order to ensure that we stay on the right path," she said.
For her, the key to achieving balance is proper structure. She creates to-do lists and continuous personal reminders. She also schedules days for collecting packages and making orders.
She credits her older brother, Xavier, for continuously supporting her and investing both financially and emotionally in her success.
"(He) has helped me to remain focused and motivates me whenever I want to throw in the towel. In situations where I feel as if the business is not going the way it should ... he reminds me that having a business is a risk, and it is a risk I should be willing to take in order to be successful."
Mitigating potential risks has contributed to the approach she has taken with her business.
"We have adopted strategies such as effective pricing in order to reach different markets such as persons who are still in school. We have also implemented the use of social media to sell our products and allow persons to view our items online, enquire about them, and order based on their preference."
The guiding principle that Kalifa has adopted while running her enterprise is to "keep smiles on her customers' faces".
She said: "Knowing that my customers are satisfied with my service has always guided me into working harder and doing my best as much as I can."
This dedication to customer satisfaction does have its drawbacks.
She recalled that her greatest challenge has been having patience with particularly difficult customers. Yet, it only serves as a source of motivation as she said with a smile, "We do whatever it takes to ensure that we please everyone we come in contact with."
Perseverance is undoubtedly the main quality that has helped to secure her success.
She boldly stated: "I am completely determined to secure my own life and my family's. The financial struggles that I have faced played an important role in my drive to success. It has made me adamant in getting out of my current situation and building a brand that will benefit those around me."
This motivation has helped to inform her wider vision for her company. She aims to create an international brand that helps people to feel confident about what they wear as she believes that what an individual wears affects how that person feels. She also aspires to be a humanitarian who "has inner peace and the opportunity to spread love to others, especially to those who are deprived of it".
Her advice to youth who have ideas is to "just do it".
Said Kalifa: "We often doubt ourselves and miss out on great opportunities because of fear."
She recalled experiencing immense anxiety when it came to her business. However, she learned not to fear failure as "it makes us stronger. It teaches us what not to do ... . You learn more from failure than success. Just take the next step. If success is truly your aim, it's all a risk you should be willing to take".
For further information, SexyStart can be contacted via their Instagram pages, @sexyswims_ @sexysunnies_ @sexystart_ or through email at email@example.com.